The Virginia National Guard, in need of a home for a unit of the newly activated 29th Infantry Division, wants to build a $1.5 million armory in Alexandria, but Mayor James P. Moran Jr. said yesterday he does not want the guard in the city.
"My reaction is a negative one," Moran said of the Army's plans to build a new training and administrative center for the 1st Battalion, 170th Infantry in the city. "It will take more land off the tax rolls and exacerbate the traffic problem."
Moran said the federal government, which does not pay state and local taxes, already owns Cameron Station, a 166-acre Army post in the city's West End that includes the headquarters for the Defense Logistics Agency. If Cameron Station officials wanted to share their site with the National Guard, Moran said he would approve the plan. But, the mayor said, "I hear they don't."
Cameron Station officials would say only that they were discussing "facility matters" with the National Guard.
Besides Cameron Station, Moran said, there are no desirable sites for the proposed 20,000- to 30,000-square-foot armory, which would be headquarters for the 169 members of the 1st Battalion, one of the 29th Infantry units.
"We are anxious to get the unit settled in and training. They need somewhere to call home," said 29th Infantry spokesman Maj. William M. Congo. Currently, the 1st Battalion is training in temporary quarters at Fort Belvoir.
Alexandria is an ideal location for the new facility, Congo said, because it would encourage local residents to join the infantry division, and because the city has a heritage of housing troops. "It's important to be in this area," Congo said. "I hope we can work something out."
The 29th Infantry Division, which led the D-Day invasion on Omaha Beach 40 years ago, is scheduled to enlist more than 10,500 people by next summer.